Courtyard House Wamboin, NSW
Set in the middle of 250 hectares the house nestles into its surroundings with a slow rising hill to the north and views to the Brindabella Ranges to the west.
The plan has a main courtyard to the southeast to create an outdoor area protected from the westerly winds. Wing walls radiate from the house to form smaller courtyards with different uses and providing further wind protection.
For summer cooling, air is drawn through louvres below floor level, across an underground concrete water tank and up through grilles in the floor and skirting of the living areas to exhaust through openable clerestory windows above.
Winter warmth is by hydronic underfloor heating through the entire house, augmented by two slow combustion fireplaces. The house is double glazed and well insulated.
A detached 10kW solar panel system sits on top of the hill.
All the external sliding doors have reciprocal sliding insect screens all of which slide into cavities in the walls leaving the openings totally clear. The floor and the external paving are completely level and flush with no steps and no recesses wider than 4mm.
For bushfire protection and to reduce maitenance little timber was used externally. Walls are rendered block, windows and doors aluminium, the fascia is 8mm steel plate, the roof and gutters are colorbond, the eaves lining is FC sheet fixed with double-sided tape (no mechanical fixings) and the downpipes are Corten steel.
The house uses smart technology. The clerestory windows, all curtains, internal and external blinds and the ventilation louvres are all electrically powered. These along with the heating, spa, lighting, security, integrated sound system and audio visual components, can all be operated by wall mounted touch pads and some functions by mobile phone.
Lighting is all LED with extensive use of strip lighting.